Sicard, George Snag Top Finishes at Conference Championships
UC Irvine men’s and women’s track and field teams concluded the two-day Big West Championships Saturday at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Track Complex with seventh place team finishes — garnering 75 and 62 total team points respectively — but did not walk away without taking home a handful of individual titles and all-conference performances.
Men’s Track and Field
Senior Lloyd Sicard secured his third 110m hurdles crown in dominant fashion on the second and final day of the championships with a season-best 13.61 — just 0.01 seconds shy of eclipsing both the meet record and his personal record at 13.60. Sicard was the sole-runner to cross the finish line under 14 seconds on the weekend and joins the ranks among the all-time Big West greats, becoming just the third athlete to ever walk away with three 110m hurdles titles.
Sicard will now set his sights on qualifying for his third consecutive NCAA Championships at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, which will take place from May 25-27 in Austin, Texas.
Although he did not run his season-best, sophomore Isaiah Jewett breezed to victory for his first-ever conference title in the 800m with a 1:49.96, which was almost two seconds ahead of senior Shelby Harnandez Jr. of Cal State Fullerton, who took home second.
With one conference title under his belt, Jewett becomes the first 800m champion since 2016 Olympian and UCI alum Charles Jock took the gold five years ago. Jewett had notably passed up Jock during his second run in the 800m at the Adidas/Steve Scott Invitational. He is still, however, third in program history behind Jock’s school record of 1:44.67 and Steve Scott’s 1:47.6 in the respective event.
Sicard and Jewett served as bookends in the 4×100 relays as they joined sophomore Paul Resong and senior Brandon Howard to snag first in the 4×100 in record time with a season-best 3:09.19. Individually, Howard received an All-Big West honor nod, as he was runner-up for the second straight year in the 400m hurdles with a 52.56 finish.
The senior duo of Howard and Sicard also teamed with freshman Evan Singletary and Jordan Gibson in another 4×100 event where the quartet came in with a season-best 40.62, but fell slightly behind Cal State Fullerton’s team, who took the event with a 40.18 finish.
Out on the field, senior Matt Seawright followed up his third place season-best finish in the discus (180-08) that he had earned Friday with a second place finish in the hammer throw Saturday.
In the hammer throw, the event at which Seawright currently ranks third in UCI’s program history, the Millikan High School product registered the top mark at 202-01.50 to open the two-flight event, but senior James Hubbard of Long Beach State, who was currently the conference leader in the event, surpassed the mark in the final round, throwing a 212-07.
Seawright made a tremendous effort in his final attempt, improving with a personal best 210-11, but was ultimately unable to pass up Hubbard’s mark. For his efforts, Seawright received his second All-Big West nod for the meet.
Women’s Track and Field
Senior Megan George headlined the conference championships for UCI’s women’s track and field team Saturday, successfully defending her third straight 100m-hurdle title with a time of 13.43. George’s first title in the event, which she had won as a sophomore, also marked the first time an Anteater ever took home the crown.
With three titles under her belt, the Inglewood, California native becomes just the fourth to ever complete a three-peat in Big West conference history. George still holds the highest mark of UCI’s program history in the 100m hurdles at 13.28 — a mark she had set last season during the Riverside Spring Break Invitational.
George also rounded out a quartet that featured fellow seniors Saniya Syed and Crystal Lizaola along with junior Simone Buchanan that snapped a five-year Anteater record in the 4×400 relay with a program best 3:42.57, which was good for fourth in the event.
Lizaola had placed third in the 400m hurdles at 61.48 on Friday during the first of the meet and ended up finishing fourth in the final at 61.48
After recording the top finish in the 100m preliminaries Friday, junior Persis William-Mensah came up just 0.01 seconds short of taking the title Saturday. Registering a 14.45 finish, William-Mensah took second behind senior Marie Veale’s 14.44.
George and Persis William-Mensah joined Junior Tyra Jones and sophomore Hope Bushnell to place third in the 4×100 relay with a season-best 45.09. The effort was enough to receive an all-conference honor.
Individually, Jones finished seventh in the 400m hurdles at 62.79 after going for sixth in the preliminaries Friday.
UCI also saw some surprise performances during the meet as sophomore Hallie Pullum turned some heads as a surprise qualifier for the 800m final Saturday after clocking in at a career-best 2:12.20 during the preliminaries in the respective event Friday. Pullum ended up finishing seventh in the final at 2:14.30.
Senior Melanie Speech and sophomore Barbara Coward represented UCI well out on the field with runner-up finishes in the javelin throw and discus, respectively.
Speech tossed out a new personal-best 144-00 in her effort, but fell behind senior Shelby Crider of Long Beach State, who finished with a dominant, career-best 149-03.
Coward consistently threw out marks that eclipsed 170-feet in four of her six attempts and ultimately took home second at 179-05.
With the Big West Championships coming to an end, UCI will prepare their qualifying athletes for the NCAA West Preliminaries, a three-day meet that is set to take place in Austin, Texas from May 25 to May 27.